Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Lucky #45? Macbeth Opens On Broadway

Lucky #45? Macbeth Opens On Broadway

This evening, the celebrated Rupert Goold-helmed revival of William Shakespeare's Macbeth opens for a very limited engagement at Broadway's Lyceum Theatre.

Starring Patrick Stewart as the eponymous Scottish general, this is a play that instills so much legendary fear among theatregoers (correction: casts and crews - my apologies)theatregoers that the name Macbeth is rarely uttered inside the theatre. Instead, just call it "The Scottish Play."

With previous New York performances dating all the way back to the 1700s, this London transfer is the 45th incarnation of the notorious work.

Will critics swoon? Find out tomorrow when I provide my critics' capsule.

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).

Click here for tickets.

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At 08 April, 2008, Blogger Esther said...

What, no incredibly detailed recap of every previous production, filled with tasty historical tidbits? (I'm joking, I'm joking. Well, not about the recaps being wonderfully detailed, just about expecting one for Macbeth). ;-)

At 08 April, 2008, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Can you imagine if I did? It would be the longest post I would have ever undertaken. The last production failed miserably with Kelsey Grammar. Too bad.

At 08 April, 2008, Blogger SarahB said...

Kari and I swooned as we were very near him at the Acting Company Benefit last night. Oh that voice. Oh that face. Oh that...

At 08 April, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Macbeth is not referred to as “The Scottish Play” because it instills fear in playgoers; the fear is (or was) among actors. Macbeth has always been a popular crowd-pleaser (witches, blood, ghosts, fights). When British repertory companies would get into financial trouble, Macbeth is a play they would frequently mount to replenish their coffers. Repertory actors came to view the play as associated with hard times and bad luck, hence the superstition among British actors of never saying the play’s name.

At 08 April, 2008, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Thanks for the correction, Anonymous. I stand corrected.

At 08 April, 2008, Anonymous BroadwayBaby said...

Anonymous only gets it partially right:

It's commonly known that Productions of Macbeth are said to have been plagued with accidents, many ending in death; the play does include more fight scenes and other such opportunities for accidents than does the average play.

According to legend, this dates back to the original performance of the play, in which prop daggers were mistakenly swapped for real ones, resulting in a death.

Those who believe in the curse of Macbeth claim its origin to be in the three Witches, who in the play are said to be casting real spells. It has also been suggested that the inclusion of the character Hecate, frequently cut from productions of the play due to questions about her part's authorship, will intensify the effects of the curse.

The popularity of the superstition might also be related to its mild hazing aspect. Veteran actors might relate some tale of woe that they witnessed personally due to someone invoking the curse, lending credibility and immediacy to the tale.

One hypothesis for the origin of this superstition is that Macbeth, being a popular play, was commonly put on by theatres in danger of going out of business, or that the high production costs of Macbeth put the theatre in financial trouble. An association was made between the production of Macbeth and theatres going out of business.

According to the superstition, Shakespeare got a few of the lines from an actual coven of witches and when they saw the play they were greatly offended and cursed the play. It is believed that the taboo calls the ghosts of the three witches to the show and it is they who cause all the mishaps.


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